Service Tips

Reducing Strain and Sprain Injuries on the Job

Strains and sprains accounted for more than 15% of Fiscal Year 2014 injuries in state government. If you include falls, slips and trips, 40% of injuries are related to strains and sprains. Nationally, the numbers are about the same, where 39% of injuries are sprains or strains.

Common causes for sprains and strains are falls, twisting an arm or leg, sports injuries and over-exertion. Both sprains and strains result in pain and swelling. The amount of pain and swelling depends on the extent of the damage.

SPRAINS result from overstretching or tearing a ligament, tendon, or muscle. Ligaments are fibrous tissues that connect bones. Tendons are tissues that attach a muscle to a bone.

STRAINS occur when a muscle or tendon is overstretched or over-exerted.

Simple measures can prevent many sprains and strains. General safety measures to prevent slips and falls include proper lighting, handrails on both sides of stairways, keeping stairways and traffic areas clear of clutter and using adhesive-backed strips in baths and showers.

Many sprains and strains result from sports injuries. Be sure to wear proper fitting shoes that provide shock absorption and stability. Wear shoes designed for the sports activity you are playing. Don’t overdo it. If muscles or joints start to hurt, ease up. Do warm-up exercises to stretch the muscles before your activity, whether vigorous or not. Always ease into any exercise program and go through a cool down period afterward. These same issues apply when you are doing your daily work activities.

TREATMENT depends on the extent of the damage. Self-help measures may be all that are needed for mild injuries. At the first sign of a sprain or strain, stop what you’re doing and apply RICE – Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. By following this simple formula, you can avoid further injury and speed recovery.
REST the injured area.
ICE or cold packs should be applied immediately. Do this for up to 48 to 72 hours after the injury. After 48-72 hours, applying heat may bring additional relief.
COMPRESS the area by wrapping it (not too tightly) with an elastic wrap. Begin wrapping from the point farthest from the heart and wrap toward the center of the body. Loosen the bandage if it gets too tight.
ELEVATE the injured area higher than the heart. Do this even while you are applying the ice or cold pack as well as when you sleep.
• You may take ibuprofen for pain and inflammation if you don’t have sensitivity to the medicine or a history of ulcers. Read and follow directions carefully. Not all people should take these medicines. Always take with food or milk to prevent stomach irritation.
• Remove rings immediately if you have a sprained finger or other part of your hand.
• Use crutches to speed the healing process for a badly sprained ankle. They will help you avoid putting weight on the ankle, which could cause further damage.

Severe sprains may require medical treatment. Some require a cast. If the tissue affected is torn you may need surgery. See your health care professional if the sprain or strain does not improve after four or five days of self-care procedures.

Reducing the Risk of Manual Material Handling

Back injuries account for one of every five injuries or illnesses in the workplace.  Around 80% of these injuries occur to the lower back and are associated with manual material handling tasks. Oftentimes we get drawn into the “let’s get ’er done” attitude with many material handling tasks. The work does need to be completed, but taking a couple of seconds to determine the best way to do the job may prevent weeks of back pain.

When you lift…

- DO -
Plant your feet firmly – get a stable base
Keep the load close to your body
Bend at your knees – not your waist
Tighten your abdominal muscles to support your back
Keep your back upright – keep it in its natural posture
Use your leg muscles as you lift
Get a good grip – use both hands
Lift steadily and smoothly without jerking
Breathe. If you must hold your breath to lift it, then it is too heavy

- DO NOT -
Lift from the floor
Lift loads across obstacles
Twist and lift
Lift from an uncomfortable posture
Fight to recover a dropped object
Lift with one hand (unbalanced)
Lift while reaching or stretching
Hold your breath while lifting – Get Help

Begin each material handling task with the end in mind:  Where are you going to move it? Do you have a good grip? Is there a clear path?

Let’s work together to make Georgia a safer place to work!

Workplace Safety Tips From DOAS Risk Management Services

  

State Employee Recognition Week Tips

Recognition is a powerful motivator, and it contributes to higher employee morale, increases organizational productivity, and aids in recruitment and retention.

State Employee Recognition Week is an opportunity to show appreciation to your employees for their dedication to public service. State Employee Recognition Day is also an excellent time to spotlight the achievements and contributions of state employees in the workplace and in our communities. The image of state employees is strengthened when citizens see people they know, who happen to be state employees, working to better their communities. Publicizing the good things state employees are doing can go a long way in educating the public and making employees feel appreciated and valued.

This State Employee Recognition Week Guide provides specific information on preparing for and implementing the day in your agency. Planning early allows you to take an active role in recognizing those who do a great job for your agency and your customers every day!

In a time when budgets are tight, special activities may seem too expensive, but there are several low cost, no cost activities that agencies can do. Included in this packet are recognition ideas that can be tailored to all situations and needs, so feel free to use the ones that suit your agency’s celebration.